Volunteers are key at vaccine sites and it pays off with a shot

Volunteers are key at vaccine sites. It pays off with a shot
Volunteer worker Pete Graham, left, helps direct newly arriving volunteers to a health screening station, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at a mass vaccination clinic at Seattle University. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: When Seattle’s largest health care system got a mandate from Washington state to create a mass coronavirus vaccination site, organizers knew that gathering enough volunteers would be almost as crucial as the Covid-19 vaccine itself.

“We could not do this without volunteers,” said Renee Rassilyer-Bomers, head of Swedish Health Services vaccination site at Seattle University.

“The sheer volume and number of folks that we wanted to be able to serve and bring in requires … 320 individuals each day.”

As states ramp up vaccination distribution in the fight against the pandemic, volunteers are needed to do everything from check people in to direct traffic so vaccination sites run smoothly.

In return for their work, they are often given a shot. Many people who do not yet qualify for a vaccine — including those who are healthy and young — have been volunteering in hopes of getting a dose they otherwise may not receive for months.

Large vaccination clinics across the US have seen thousands trying to nab limited numbers of volunteer shifts.

It’s raised questions at a time when vaccine supplies are limited and some Americans have struggled to get vaccinated even if they are eligible.

But medical ethicists say volunteers in the vaccination sites are key to the public health effort. They say there is nothing wrong with the volunteers wanting protection from the virus.

Ben Dudden, 35, of Roanoke, Virginia, volunteered at a mass Covid-19 vaccination clinic in the nearby city of Salem on a day off from his part-time job at the Roanoke Pinball Museum.

Some may question whether it is fair for volunteers to get to the front of the line for what’s often clerical work.

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